Francis J. Principe — the quintessential New Yorker, member of the World War II Generation, and American — operated his ready-mixed concrete business like a delicatessen for about 40 years.
Principe, along with his partner, Frank Danna, wanted to sell cement only to pay the taxes on a piece of investment real estate they purchased in Queens after the war. However, a contractor told them they would have to supply ready-mixed concrete in trucks to get any of his business. Principe backed into the business by refurbishing several old trucks that had been found rusting away in a New Jersey swamp.
Using his math skills, Principe developed a statistical process control system for his concrete strength test results. He also joined an ACI committee. As a result, he began to establish a reputation for a quality product that exceeded New York City's building code standards. He shared his knowledge by conducting creative seminars that used stuffed dogs and a box, bowling balls, billiard balls, marbles, BBs, and glue.
The article includes a story of how Principe helped organize the Association of New York City Concrete Producers in 1974.